Detroit Tigers: Three Hypothetical Victor Martinez Trades
Detroit Tigers Acquire: Nori Aoki, Marwin Gonzalez and James Hoyt
Houston Astros Acquire: Victor Martinez
With Jason Castro hitting the free agent market, it clears the way for Evan Gattis to catch on a more regular basis for the Astros. This frees up the designated hitter position for Victor Martinez.
One of the team’s surplus infielders, like Gonzalez, Tyler White or A.J. Reed could easily fill the position, but Houston needs a veteran bat.
In return for the designated hitter, Detroit would acquire three Major League pieces that can immediately contribute at the Major League level.
Aoki joined the Astros on waivers after having previously spent 2016 with Seattle. In 118 games, the outfielder logged a 1.2 WAR while registering a 106 wRC+ and a .325 wOBA.
The 34-year-old isn’t a long-term fix, but should one or both J.D. Martinez or Justin Upton depart, he can serve as a bridge to the future in the outfield corners.
Aoki was productive for the Mariners last season, with a .283 batting average, a .349 on-base percentage and 63 runs scored.
That productivity can help bridge the gap from Martinez and Upton to prospects like Christin Stewart, Mike Gerber, and Jose Azocar, who are a few seasons away.
Additionally, Detroit would acquire a versatile defender in Gonzalez. The 27-year-old has appeared in games at all four infield positions and in left field.
His .298 career on-base percentage obviously leaves much to be desired, but the former Cubs farmhand did contribute 51 RBI, 26 doubles, 13 home runs, 12 stolen bases and three triples in 141 games last season.
As a bench cog used to keep Detroit’s starting infield fresh, Gonzalez can provide plenty of value.
So far this offseason, this website has featured a number of articles on the Tigers and Astros potentially matching up as trade partners. Each time, Hoyt’s name comes up. After looking at his numbers, it’s easy to see why.
The 30-year-old rookie registered a 15.2 swinging strike percentage for Houston last season. What’s more, he’s struck out 15.2 batters per nine innings in 55 frames of work for Triple-A Fresno in 2016.
Next: J.D. Martinez Trade Rumors
He may not be as young as Bruce Rondon or Joe Jimenez, but Hoyt is controllable and can miss bats at a high rate. The reliever’s strikeout tendencies make him a potential late-inning arm for the Detroit Tigers.